What you can’t see, can mess up your integration projects

When it comes to integration projects of various kinds – whether it’s for audio-visual functionality, for lighting and energy management systems, or for UC systems – there is a tendency to spend a lot of time in making good decisions on the “visible” elements. This means that the display devices are selected very carefully, the décor and seating arrangements get a lot of attention and the presentation tools are much considered too.

But several other critical (and relatively invisible) aspects of the room are frequently overlooked, usually to the detriment of performance and productivity in the long term.

Our experience over thousands of integration projects suggests that the 6 most commonly overlooked elements of integration projects are:

Quality of cabling and cable management

High-quality cables are expensive, and often clients decide that replacing them with cheaper local cables is “good enough”. The irony lies in the fact that often we invest in the “best” quality display device for a 10% improvement in performance, without realizing that the invisible cables and switchers can have a greater impact. Quite often, the quality of better displays is bottlenecked by a poor signal distribution system. Proper maintenance of the room infrastructure is also undermined by poor organization of cables – which considerably increases downtime if a problem occurs.

Not enough focus on room usability parameters

This almost always occurs when the users are not involved in early stages – opportunities to enhance usability get overlooked because their impact during presentations is underestimated. As an example, choosing a cable interface (or cable cubby) with retractable cables can considerably simplify things for presenters and facilities staff in every single meeting the room hosts. Imagine the cumulative impact over 5 years and maybe 1,000 meetings. Similarly, investing in cables with a clip mechanism at the device-end can eliminate loose-connection issues that frequently occur and take a long time for facilities staff to diagnose correctly.

Hardware is only as good as the control software/programming let it be

The power of software is well understood by IT teams, but very often its impact is underestimated in integration projects. Whether it’s the code for the control processor, audio processors or the design of control interfaces – good code eliminates errors, makes the system faster and more intuitive. In several situations, we’ve been able to considerably improve system performance through programming interventions and optimizations.

Audio design and treatment in rooms

Our sound environments are getting noisier and noisier, and this has the effect of making it more difficult to be heard clearly even in seemingly insulated room environments. The only way to address this is through better sound engineering and treatment of the rooms (like soundproofing), designing an audio system that places microphones and speakers in the right spots to achieve good clarity and audibility for all participants. Most importantly fixing these problems later is more expensive and causes more disruption to the use of the room than getting it right the first time.


Underestimating the value of automation in eliminating waste

Because monitoring and measuring wastage (of power, time, equipment and rooms) is not yet a very high priority to many businesses, they usually don’t have a sense of how much they can save and improve productivity by. This means that the degree of impact that automation features can deliver – by helping save time and effort – is much underestimated. Automated sensors can do this task with less friction and greater effectiveness than new usage policies – which take a long time to bring about the kind of changes in usage and habits that the elimination of waste requires. Room booking and scheduling interfaces use software to manage room utilization and eliminate inconveniences caused by double-booking.

Not addressing the quality of power supply sufficiently

Poor quality of power is a common problem across India and one that we have to deal with for many reasons. However, in our experience, the standards of what is considered acceptable power even within business environments are lower than what’s needed for many electronic devices. Specifically, the earthing of power in almost any building leaves a lot to be desired (there should be NO current — 0 volts on the earthing terminal) and is often the cause of device failure which requires expensive replacements. The long term impact on the life and performance of all your equipment is considerable and has a direct impact on projects long term ROI.

For more insights on how you can improve your integration projects, contact our team at 022-30808080 or write to contact@actis.co.in

AV Solutions, Audio Visual Consultants at Actis Technologies India